November 5, 2014

Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman became the first person of African American descent to represent New Jersey in Congress as the Representative for the 12th District.

After Rush Holt announced in February that he would not seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, the main candidates were Ms. Watson Coleman and Republican Alieta Eck.

While the final numbers for the Senate race were not in at press time, results for 110 out of 170 districts showed Ms. Watson Coleman with 72 percent of the votes and Ms. Eck with 25 percent. The numbers in Princeton were 4611 for Ms. Watson Coleman and 1391 for Ms. Eck.

Incumbent Democrats Bernard “Bernie” P. Miller and Jo Butler were the only candidates for two three-year term seats on Princeton Council. Mr. Miller received 4754 votes and Ms. Butler received 4726.

Four candidates vied for three 3-year term seats on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. At press time, incumbent Afsheen Shamsi looked likely to be re-elected after serving one 3-year term. She had 2248 votes. The other winning candidates are Justin Doran with 2324 votes and Fern M. Spruill with 2685. The fourth candidate, Ms. Connie Witter received the least number with 2219 votes.

The race for the U.S. Senate seat was won by the Democratic candidate Cory Booker who beat Republican candidate Jeff Bell. At press time with 153 out of 243 districts reporting, 61 percent of the electorate had voted for Booker and 37 percent for Bell.

This year’s ballot had three public questions to be voted on, two constitutional amendments and one County Question.

On public question number one, a constitutional amendment that would allow courts to order pretrial detention of a person in a criminal case, thereby changing the current constitutional right to bail such that an accused person could be held in jail even before his/her trial and, in some situations, even without a chance to post bail, 64 percent of voters voted yes and 36 percent voted no (for 204 out of 243 districts reporting).

On question number two, which would dedicate state funds for open space, farmland, and historical preservation, 68 percent voted in favor while 32 percent voted against (for 204 out of 243 districts reporting).

The County Question, proposing a 5 cent fee for single use plastic shopping bags in an effort to induce shoppers to use recyclable bags, received 39 percent of votes in favor and 61 percent of votes against.

 

The wisdom and kindness of the Dalai Lama came up more than once at Monday’s special meeting of Princeton Council with Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. Council members were also joined by University Vice President and Secretary Robert K. Durkee and Community and Regional Affairs Director Kristen Appelget.

The special meeting took place in Monument Hall and members of the public were asked to comment before Mr. Eisgruber and the Council got down to conversation on topics ranging from the impact of University expansion on the character of Princeton; community service by students; lengthier train commutes between Princeton and New York City; student representation on Council; public safety; and possible future stress on the town concomitant with University expansion.

Mayor Liz Lempert kicked off the proceedings by congratulating Mr. Eisgruber on his first year as the University’s 20th President (he was appointed April 2013) and welcoming him to his second public meeting with Council; the first was last December. The meetings are designed for discussion of areas of shared interest and concern.

Ms. Lempert cited last week’s visit of the Dalai Lama to the University, which was attended by students, faculty, and members of the public, in which the Tibetan leader spoke about “building trusting relationships to work at disagreements with mutual respect.”

In his opening remarks, Mr. Eisgruber welcomed open channels of communication between Town and Gown and then launched into a description of the University’s campus planning process currently underway. Details of the plan can be viewed at: www.princeton.edu/strategicplan.

Noting that the University has doubled in size since 1965, Ms. Lempert asked how the town could retain its distinctive character in view of future campus expansion. “We have both grown and developed since I was a student at Princeton from 1979 to 1983 and the character of the town matters to the University,” offered Mr. Eisgruber, adding that as time goes on, the University will continue to add areas of study and would need to engage in conversation with Council as “we move forward.”

Council President Bernie Miller raised the possibility of additional stops on the NJ Transit rail line between Princeton Junction and New York City. If new stations were added, this could potentially result in a longer commute between the two. Mr. Miller asked whether there was anything the University could do to make sure that the accessibility to New York City that Princeton now enjoys isn’t diminished. Mr. Eisgruber agreed that this was a shared interest and would consider the possibility, suggested by Mr. Miller, of talks with NJ Transit about increasing the number of non-stop or limited-stop trains between the Junction and Manhattan’s Penn Station.

Prompted by a question from Heather Howard, Mr. Eisgruber provided an update on the handling of sexual assault on campus. In September, the University announced changes to its sex and gender discrimination and sexual misconduct policy following an investigation by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR), which had told the University that its current procedures failed to meet the requirements of applicable federal laws, including Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

“We now have a set of practices that are fair to both accuser and accused,” said Mr. Eisgruber, adding that in addition to the changes made to comply with law, “bystander intervention” programs were being considered.

At one point in the proceedings, Jo Butler asked whether Mr. Eisgruber had read the New York Times Sunday Review article (“The Missing Campus Climate Debate” by Evan J. Manderynov) criticizing universities for their stance on climate change and suggesting that endowment investing such as that which influenced the demise of apartheid in South Africa could be used by universities to effect change.

Mr. Eisgruber said that he had read the article over Sunday morning cereal and, as on similar occasions when media directed criticism to the nation’s universities, had felt that he was being addressed personally. However, he added, there is a protocol for such issues, involving a committee and the Board of Trustees, to assess concerns with respect to the University’s mission and values.

In this case, he said: “The analogy to South Africa is wrong. We all have a responsibility to sustainability.” The University’s duty, he said, was to tell the scientific facts of climate change “rather than take a political stance with endowment dollars.”

To Patrick Simon’s request to predict where there might be future stress for the town as a result of University expansion, Mr. Eisgruber spoke of the need to expand the University’s computer science programs for which more space and re-use of existing space would be needed. He also anticipated the growth of the student body. “We turn down more students today than ever before and our capacity to help socio-economically disadvantaged students will grow as the student body grows,” he said. “This is where we will have to work together.”

This March, Princeton University offered admission to just 1,939 (7.22 percent) of the 26,641 who applied for the class of 2018. Applications have been rising for the past decade and it seems inevitable that the student body will increase from its current number of some 5,200. The impact of such growth is among the items being examined by Urban Strategies, the firm hired by the University to manage its strategic planning process. Since freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, it seems likely that more student housing will be needed.

Mr. Durkee pointed out that Urban Strategies will be engaging the Princeton community via a new website and blog which will “seek comment from anyone who would like to be involved.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Jenny Crumiller asked Mr. Eisgruber to give his personal opinion of the Dinky station relocation, the University having announced Monday that the new permanent station is to open November 17.

As a Dinky user, Mr. Eisgruber anticipated that once all of the construction was over, the new Arts and Transit neighborhood would be an improvement. “I’m excited about it,” he said.

 

The Princeton Planning Board is due to vote on the Institute for Advanced Study’s amended plan to build faculty housing on its land close to the Princeton Battlefield State Park when it meets this Thursday, November 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Witherspoon Hall.

The Planning Board had been expected to vote on the issue at a public hearing in September but the vote was postponed after hours of often contentious discussion by both supporters and opponents of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) plans.

The Princeton Battlefield Society has vehemently opposed building on land which, they attest, is part of the historic battleground, the site of General George Washington’s counterattack against the British during the 1777 Battle of Princeton.

Lawyers for the IAS and the Battlefield Society have locked horns repeatedly on the issue, which has received much press coverage since members of the Princeton Planning Board unanimously approved the Institute’s building plan in March 2012.

The plans had then to be approved by the D&R Canal Commission, which came down against the proposal in January 2013, on the grounds of encroachment on a stream corridor.

Members of the Princeton community have written numerous letters to the editor on the subject. At the public hearing in September, Witherspoon Hall was filled almost to capacity with people sporting “I support IAS” buttons on one side and “Save the Princeton Battlefield” on the other.

The Planning Board’s October meeting was cancelled.

The IAS plans to build eight townhouses and seven single-family homes on a seven-acre parcel of its campus. Having amended its original plan after the Canal Commission review, it is now coming back to the Planning Board for approval of amendments that include slightly smaller lots that are a third of an acre further away from the stream.

According to the IAS, the plans now to be considered satisfy the Commission’s requirements.

According to the Princeton Battlefield Society, the changes constitute a new plan and should be reviewed as such. Battlefield Society attorney Bruce Afran has argued repeatedly for a new full-scale review of the IAS proposal.

Battlefield Society members have opposed the development from its inception and filed several lawsuits in support of its aims to stop the Institute from building.

 

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Participants in Princeton’s HiTOPS Half-Marathon Sunday are on their bright and early way, among them several runners who talk about the course in this week’s Town Talk, including the record-setting winner, Laurent White of Flemington. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

November 3, 2014

Princeton University has announced an end to the temporary Dinky station on Alexander Road as of Monday, November 10. The New Princeton Station will open November 17. At the conclusion of rail service between Princeton Station and Princeton Junction Station on Sunday, November 9, the temporary Princeton Station will be permanently closed. There will be no rail service between Princeton Station and Princeton Junction Station from November 10 through November 16, during which time NJ TRANSIT shuttle buses will substitute. The TigerPaWW will continue to operate with stops at Princeton Junction Station, the Alexander Street northbound bus stop, and the bus stop on College Road across from the McCarter Theatre circle. When the new Princeton Station opens on November 17, rail service will resume. Ticket vending machines will be located at the east end of the station on the platform. The new Wawa will open Friday, November 21. Maps showing the new locations for transit services are available online. For more information, call (609) 258-8023.

October 29, 2014
WOODED SETTING: With its sod roofs and harvesting of rainwater, the new Copperwood development of rental units is big on sustainability. Eighty percent of the apartments are designated for active adults over 55; and another 20 percent can be rented to younger tenants. Twelve of the 150 units are designated as affordable housing.(Photo by Tom Grimes)

WOODED SETTING: With its sod roofs and harvesting of rainwater, the new Copperwood development of rental units is big on sustainability. Eighty percent of the apartments are designated for active adults over 55; and another 20 percent can be rented to younger tenants. Twelve of the 150 units are designated as affordable housing. (Photo by Tom Grimes)

After 10 years of deliberations, environmental considerations, and reconfigurations, Copperwood, the rental community on Bunn Drive, has officially opened. Thirty of the 150 units set among the trees have been rented, and there has been “a huge uptick in interest” since the ceremony last week, said architect and developer (and Town Topics shareholder) Bob Hillier.

The project dates back to 2003, when senior housing was first proposed for the Princeton Ridge. Two years later, developer K. Hovnanian was approved to build an age-restricted complex on what was known as the Lowe tract. But the developer withdrew its application after a public outcry over plans to disturb nearly 80 percent of the environmentally sensitive site.

Environmentalists sued what was then Princeton Township over the zoning that allowed any development on the Ridge. Mr. Hillier stepped in and redesigned the project for a much smaller footprint, clustering five buildings on three acres of the 21-acre site. The remaining lands were put into conservation in perpetuity.

“I’m especially proud of the sustainability aspects,” said Mr. Hillier, referring to a three-acre detention basin that was part of the original plan and was eliminated. As part of the project, the Princeton Community Village detention basin across the road was improved, which in turn helps prevent flooding at the Governor’s Lane development, he said.

Copperwood is designed around a system of piazzas and garden walkways. Its green features include the facades of the buildings, colored to blend into the wooded site and made of reflective materials to repel the heat of the sun. Among Mr. Hillier’s favorite features are the 12-foot ceilings in the living rooms of some of the top-floor units. “They’re just breathtaking,” he said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mayor Liz Lempert called the buildings some of the most sustainable in Princeton. She added, “It’s gratifying to be standing here today in front of a project that so many of us can celebrate as a victory — the senior housing advocates, the environmentalists, the developer, and the community. It is a prime example of the power of collaborative efforts, and will serve as a model for how to successfully work together to build a more sustainable Princeton.”

Mr. Hillier said this week, “We were able to get a lot of cooperation from the town, including the building department, which I’m grateful for. I’m relieved and proud and glad that we now have a place in Princeton where people can downsize, which they couldn’t before.”

 

Michael G. Rosenberg, the former Birch Avenue resident who was charged last year with animal cruelty, was sentenced to five years in state prison for actions that resulted in the death of a pet dog.

Mr. Rosenberg was indicted by a Mercer County grand jury February 13, 2014 on one count of third-degree animal cruelty, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. He pleaded guilty in May as part of a deal that would see other charges against him dropped.

Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. handed down the sentence October 17 with the dog’s owner, Tracy B. Stanton in court. Ms. Stanton read a statement that described Mr. Rosenberg as “sick and disturbed.” She commended Princeton Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson, who was also in the court room, for his efforts in bringing the case against Mr. Rosenberg.

Mr. Rosenberg was charged with causing the death of Ms Stanton’s three-year-old female German Shepherd mix named Shyanne after she had left the dog in his care for training purposes in August 2012. On the advice of a friend, Ms. Stanton, a resident of Lawrence, had left Shyanne with Mr. Rosenberg, then 31, who was working as a dog trainer from his home.

Two days after Ms. Stanton left her dog, Mr. Rosenberg called her to say that the dog was in need of veterinary attention. He then called again suggesting she come and pick up her dog immediately. Shortly thereafter, the dog was found unresponsive but still breathing on the front porch of Mr. Rosenberg’s residence. Shyanne died before arriving at the emergency veterinary hospital. Results of a necropsy, or animal autopsy, showed Shyanne to have four broken ribs and a punctured lung.

According to the complaints signed by Princeton Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson, Mr. Rosenberg hit Shyanne with a crop, slammed her to the ground, jabbed his fingers into her ribs, and failed to seek medical attention for her injuries.

At that time Mr. Johnson commented that in all his 19 years on the job, he had never seen a dog so cruelly treated that it had died of its injuries.

Mr. Johnson later brought charges against Mr. Rosenberg in a case involving Mr. Rosenberg’s own two dogs, Kaiser and Sanford. Those charges, as well as one involving a failed drug test, were later dismissed as part of a plea deal between Mr. Rosenberg, represented by attorney James R. Wronko, and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Mr. Rosenberg is a registered sex offender in New Jersey. He had received a suspended four-year sentence in November 2011 for endangering the welfare of a 14-year-old girl with whom he had been having a sexual relationship since 2009.

A conviction for animal cruelty would have violated the terms of his parole.

After entering into the plea bargain, Mr. Rosenberg pleaded guilty in May of this year to third-degree animal cruelty in Shyanne’s case. The other charges against him were dropped.

Along with his sentence in the death of Shyanne, Mr. Rosenberg will now serve out concurrently the four-year sentence for child endangerment that was reinstated because of his parole violation.

 

On November 2, starting at 7 a.m. on Paul Robeson Place near Chambers Street (Start/Finish line), Hi-TOPS of Princeton will be sponsoring a half marathon race with over 1100 runners expected. During the event, streets along the race route will be intermittently closed and vehicular traffic will be diverted. Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area during the race, which should be completed by 10:30 a.m.

The race route will be as follows:

• west on Paul Robeson Place (from Chambers Street) to west on Hodge Road;

• south on Library Place to west on Mercer Street, then south into Princeton Battle Park and Institute of Advanced Study;

• north on Olden Lane to east on Battle Road;

• south on Springdale Road to east on West Drive (Princeton University);

• north on Alexander Road to east on Faculty Road;

• north on Washington Road to north on Vandeventer Avenue;

• east on Wiggins Street to east on Hamilton Avenue;

• north on Walnut Lane to east on Franklin Avenue;

• south on Linden Lane to east on Hamilton Avenue;

• east on Rollingmead to north on Deer Path;

• north on Clover Lane to west on Overbrook Drive;

• north on Snowden Lane to north on Herrontown Road;

• north on Bunn Drive to Poor Farm Road;

• south on Mount Lucas Road to south on Jefferson Road;

• west on Wiggins Street to west on Paul Robeson Place;

• to the finish line at Chambers Street.

HIGH TECH: “What technology did for the news and entertainment world (from remote control and instant replay to time shifting), it is doing now for independence. And the interesting element is that you can be independent but connected. You are not reliant on others to research a novel drug, or the theater schedule, or the new trash recycling schedule. You are more independent when your world is expanded.” Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder and CEO of Generations on Line, will be the keynote speaker at the PSRC’s fall conference, “Technology and Aging Independently”.

HIGH TECH: “What technology did for the news and entertainment world (from remote control and instant replay to time shifting), it is doing now for independence. And the interesting element is that you can be independent but connected. You are not reliant on others to research a novel drug, or the theater schedule, or the new trash recycling schedule. You are more independent when your world is expanded.” Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder and CEO of Generations on Line, will be the keynote speaker at the PSRC’s fall conference, “Technology and Aging Independently”.

The Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) is one of the true treasures in this lively town. Its many programs, classes, activities, and events ensure that everyone of a certain age can be involved, engaged, and up-to-date.

Up-to-date these days includes having at least a minimum hands-on working knowledge of computers and the related electronic devices and accoutrements of this high tech age.

Therefore: the PSRC’s upcoming fall conference, “Technology and Aging Independently,” will be held Saturday, November 1 at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street.

The conference is designed to address both user-friendly and cutting edge technology, says PSRC executive director Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW. “We want to make people aware of emerging technologies that can help them stay active in our community. It’s exciting to learn about these modalities that can help us stay socially connected, engaged in life-long learning, have unlimited information at our fingertips, stay healthier, and have tools to help us manage our lives as we age.”

PSRC Mission 

The conference is the eleventh in the fall series, she adds. “Part of the PSRC mission is to educate the community and be a
resource to older adults and family caregivers. The first fall conference in 2004 was how to plan for the future, and last year it was the Brain Health Fair.

“The interest and attendance has grown over time, and last year, more than 200 people attended the conference. This is the first one on technology, and it is very important. It is creeping into our lives so much. People are reading and talking about it all the time, and we wanted to address it.”

There is much that technology can do to enliven and improve the lives of older individuals, she points out. “Technology is transforming. There are so many dimensions to it. For example, you can program your phone to remind you to take your medicine the same way that you program your phone to turn the lights on and off in the house.

“Today, there are Lifeline medical alerts and other devices, which include medication reminder systems. Lifeline also has added a monitor that shows if someone who has fallen is unable to push the button to notify Lifeline. In addition, there are LED lights that can illuminate each step on the staircase.

“As people age, their world can begin to shrink. Old friends move away or die; some people don’t want to drive at night. Devices like Skype allow you to ‘have tea’ with an old friend and stay connected. Technology can stimulate interest and improve cognitive skills, support social interaction and independence longer.”

There are six issues relating to wellness that help people from becoming lonely, she points out. “They are physical, cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual, and purpose. Technology can address so many of these points.”

Diverse Group

Ms. Hoskins notes that PSRC already has computer classes and a computer lab, which attract many people, and that the conference is a way to expand that interest. “So many people really love coming here, and it is an incredibly diverse group.”

The conference, which is free to the public, will start off with a continental breakfast provided by the Princeton Care Center, include keynote speaker Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder and CEO of Generations on Line, followed by five workshops, and a light lunch provided by Brandywine Senior Living.

“Generations on Line is a national nonprofit company dedicated to simplifying the internet through special software available to more than 1800 facilities nationwide, including public libraries, senior centers, retirement communities, and low income elder housing,” says Ms. Hoskins. Ms. Dichter will address the many ways that technology is currently being used to help people maintain their independence.

Five workshops, from 10 a.m. to noon, will include:

• Getting Started: Laptops and portable devices, reliable internet resources, and online safety. Presenters: Don Benjamin and Barbara Lundy, PSRC ComputerLab experts.

• Entertainment and Social: Social media for connecting, reconnecting,
entertainment, and more. Presenter: Tom Callahan, Answers for Issues Consulting.

• Medical: Online consultations with physicians, electronic medical records, monitors, devices. Presenter: Barbara Vaning, Princeton Healthcare System Community Outreach.

• Home Safety: How to use technology in your home, home modifications, alert buttons. Presenter: Holly Hardaway, Independent Domain.

• Connect from Home: Learn how to pay bills, shop, Skype, use social networks, access library books. Presenters: Annette Murphy, Senior Care Management and Janet Hauge, Princeton Public Library.

“Age-Friendly Community”

Visitors to the conference will be able to attend two of the 45-minute workshops, says Ms. Hoskins. “Workshop presenters and their guests will introduce numerous opportunities that are currently available or coming soon.”

In keeping with Princeton’s recent designation by the World Health Organization as an “Age-Friendly Community,” PSRC is committed to enhancing the lives of the community’s older citizens in many ways, including emphasizing the benefits of technology.

“At every level, technology can help people live at that level longer,” points out Ms. Hoskins. “With technology, we can balance autonomy with safety. I take our mission as being a resource center very seriously — to gather information and get it out to the public. I look forward to seeing everything at the conference myself. All the new technologies are coming so quickly, and this conference is a way to expose everyone to all the possibilities.

“As our culture becomes even more technology-oriented, PSRC is committed to helping our community stay connected. This conference is an opportunity for anyone interested in the latest, most practical technologies to learn which gadgets, devices, and apps are useful, and which to ignore or reject.”

Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, PSRC looks forward to offering the public this opportunity to learn more about the world of technology, at the same time looking ahead to many more fall conferences to come. And, as an important part of Princeton’s “Age-Friendly Community”, PSRC is continuing to build on its foundation.

“Now, our task is how to make that focus an organic part of the community and establishing a network with other areas to share ideas. And after marking our 40th anniversary, we are now fired up for 40 more!”

The conference, which is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is open to the public. Pre-registration is strongly advised. (609) 924-7108.

 

Members of the teachers’ union and Princeton Public School Board of Education (BOE) met October 22 for a last ditch attempt to thrash out a new teachers’ contract. It was the 11th time the two sides had met since April and the last before mediation sessions are scheduled to begin in November.

Their previous bargaining session on October 2 ended with a walk-out by union representatives. The talks are intended to form a new contract to replace the 2011-14 contract that expired June 30. Since that time, the district’s teachers have been working under the expired agreement.

The costs of healthcare and salaries continue to be the stumbling block to progress.

After the October 22 meeting the union’s chief negotiator, John Baxter, had this to say: “The Board has told us on numerous occasions, including last night, that they ‘hear us’ on salary and premium contributions. They may hear us, but last night they chose not to respond constructively. The Board has now changed its proposal to five years at Tier 4 premium contribution rates; the Board chose not to move towards a contract but rather moved us farther away. Rather than make concessions, rather than move towards a middle ground where agreements are reached, the Board requested even more from PPS educators.”

At the October 22 meeting, the Board proposed that the new contract run for five years, to expire June 30, 2019. According to Board member Andrea Spalla, it was hoped that by lengthening the parties’ collectively bargained agreement, a longer period of labor peace would ensue, with a concomitant reduction in disruption to the operations of the schools.

The Board proposed “aggregate annual salary increases as follows: 2 percent in year 1; 1.8 percent in year 2; 1.9 percent in year 3; 2 percent in year 4; and 2 percent in year 5.”

According to Mr. Baxter, this offer “continues to be a devalued salary guide. They increased from 1.8 to 2 percent in year one and from 1.86 to 1.9 percent in year three — a .2 and a .04 increase — if we accept all their other proposals,” he said.

According to PREA, the Board appeared to make concessions on some proposals such as the open-ended length of the workday at the high school. “But when asked for confirmation they said ‘no,’ all previous proposals, even those not in the document they presented [that] night, are not withdrawn but still on the table,” said Mr. Baxter, clearly frustrated.

“Despite the Board’s divisive proposals, the PREA offered a major concession on health care,” said, Mr. Baxter, adding that the PREA’s new proposal “will yield greater annual savings in health care premiums than the Board’s proposal. In addition to savings, the PREA proposal does much more to maintain the level of health care coverage whereas the Board’s proposal reduces coverage for PPS educators. The Board acknowledged the positive significance of the PREA’s proposal. They did not, however, counter-offer.”

In a statement to Town Topics, the Board said: “The Board proposed that in order to reduce PREA members’ healthcare premium costs, PREA members would pay a total annual deductible of $100 (for employees with single, parent/child or member/spouse coverage levels) or $200 (for employees with family coverage levels); and that PREA members’ co-payment amounts would increase from current levels of $10 per visit to $15 for doctor visits and $20 for specialist visits. Currently PREA members have no deductibles. All wellness visits, by law, would continue to be free and not subject to co-pays. For these modest increases in deductible and co-pay amounts, each employee would see meaningful reductions in their individual premium costs in each paycheck.”

“It appears that the parties remain at an impasse,” said Jennifer Lea Cohan of the new group Community for Princeton Public Schools. “This is disappointing news, and we hope that, with the help of mediation, they will find common ground for the good of all involved.”

A somewhat more optimistic member of the district’s BOE, Andrea Spalla, said, “Last week’s meeting may not have resulted in an agreement — yet — but we feel it marked some progress, from both teams, towards a shared solution.”

Further talks facilitated by state-appointed mediator Kathy Vogt, Esq. begin November 20.

Ms. Vogt is no stranger to the district. She assisted with negotiations for the 2011-14 contract.

The Board of Education held a public meeting last night after Town Topics press deadline.

 

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The Nassau Club at 6 Mercer Street presents an opportunity to view works such as “Parade of Lilies,” shown here, in an exhibition titled, “Color Windows: Paintings by Jane Adriance” from November 3 through January 4, 2015. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, November 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. The paintings can be seen at the club during the day except for dining hours. For more information, call (609) 452-7000, or visit: www.puretraits.com.

Every year at this time, HomeFront, a local nonprofit organization committed to helping local homeless and vulnerable families, begins making sure that these needy families will still have a full and festive Thanksgiving dinner. During the HomeFront Thanksgiving Drive, which has just been launched for 2014, local individuals, families, groups, houses of worship, and corporations donate baskets, filled with all the trimmings for a traditional home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. HomeFront’s goal for 2014 is to provide enough food for 2,000 families for Thanksgiving Day — and beyond. Participants in the Thanksgiving Drive are being urged to add a little “extra” to each basket — cans of tuna, soup, peanut butter and other essentials — to help these needy families when the leftovers are done.

All individuals and groups who want to participate in HomeFront’s Thanksgiving Drive should simply call (609) 989-9417, extension 133, for more information and a list of the food needed. The filled baskets can be dropped off at HomeFront’s 1880 Princeton Avenue offices in Lawrenceville from November 12 to 21, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 am until noon.

Every year homeless and low-income families face special challenges and the current economic crisis has had a huge impact on the working class. Over the years, HomeFront has seen an increase in the number of requests for assistance from families facing crisis. HomeFront is currently giving out 1,000 free bags of food per month and each day an increasing number of new clients are unable to feed their families.

“These families really need your help this year,” says Connie Mercer, executive director of HomeFront. “The days before Thanksgiving are always busy times at our offices, with lines winding out the door to pick up the makings for a traditional Thanksgiving week.”

HomeFront provides a comprehensive network of services for the poor and homeless in Central Jersey, with a particular focus on families. For more information, visit www.homefrontnj.org or call (609) 989-9417.

FOR THE DALAI LAMA: To show his respect and support for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar sported a placard in response to the protesters who had gathered outside Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym yesterday.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

FOR THE DALAI LAMA: To show his respect and support for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar sported a placard in response to the protesters who had gathered outside Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym yesterday. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Security was tight as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet visited Princeton University Tuesday.

According to University spokesperson Martin Mbugwa, some 4,200 people were in attendance at Jadwin Gymnasium to hear the Tibetan spiritual leader discuss the importance of compassion and kindness in academic life.

The venue began filling up around 8:30 a.m. with campus police and members of the Princeton Police Department on hand. Barriers had been erected to direct visitors as they entered the building. Inside, they were guided through airport-like security, asked to remove cellphones and metal objects, and pass through scanners.

Protesters and supporters of the Dalai Lama were separated and corralled by barriers into areas outside the gymnasium, which had been transformed into an auditorium for the occasion.

A gorgeously colored and richly embroidered silk hanging above the stage looked incongruous against the orange and black sports banners suspended from the domed roof of Jadwin Gym.

The Dalai Lama’s first appearance in Princeton was at the invitation of the University’s Office of Religious Life and The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation, which promotes Kalmyk tradition around the world. Originating in the Kalmyk Republic of Russia in the Northwest corner of the Caspian Sea area, the Kalmyks helped bring Tibetan Buddhism to the United States in 1951. There are members of the Kalmyk community in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

As the Tibetan leader came to the stage, shortly after 9:30 a.m., the entire audience, which had been waiting for the best part of an hour, rose to its feet. Dean of Religious Life Alison L. Boden accompanied the Dalai Lama, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, and an interpreter to the stage.

The religious leader stood by the podium as Ms. Bowden introduced him and said that marshals would collect questions from the audience for His Holiness to answer. “We welcome the world’s most spiritual and compelling voice on a host of issues,” she said. “We are eager to receive his wisdom.”

Signaling his wish that the audience be seated, the Dalai Lama received immediate laughter and applause as he donned an orange Princeton baseball cap. Without an interpreter, he addressed the audience: “Brothers and sisters, I feel that it is a great opportunity to talk with many of you, students and faculty. Someone asked me if I had been to Princeton before. I told them no, I had never come because I had never been invited. I’m not here as a tourist, however, I am here as a Buddhist monk; my daily prayers, my body, speech, mind, is dedicated to serving others.”

He spoke about being almost 80-years-old. “At age 16, I lost my own freedom; at 24, I lost my own country through circumstances beyond my control.”

Addressing the importance of developing compassion and kindness, alongside the intellect, in an academic environment, he said: “The world has been made a lot easier because of science and technology, but along with progress has come problems, even here in America there is still a lot of poverty.”

AGAINST THE DALAI LAMA: Protesters, carrying placards against what some Tibetan Buddhists describe as the Dalai Lama’s persecution of religious groups, gathered outside Jadwin Gym yesterday during the visit of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to Princeton University.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

AGAINST THE DALAI LAMA: Protesters, carrying placards against what some Tibetan Buddhists describe as the Dalai Lama’s persecution of religious groups, gathered outside Jadwin Gym yesterday during the visit of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to Princeton University. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Protesters

But while the affable scholar/monk shared his thoughts with the audience inside, protesters outside could be heard chanting “False Dalai Lama, Give Religious Freedom.”

Carrying banners that read “Dalai Lama Stop Lying,” the protestors claimed that the Dalai Lama discriminates against those who follow another form of Buddhism, as represented by Dorje Shugden.

Similar protests have accompanied appearances by the Dalai Lama in California and in Germany, so it was no surprise to the University or the municipality. The protestors had announced their intention beforehand.

Almost as many Tibetan supporters as protestors also made their feelings known by dancing, drumming and singing directly in front of the entrance to Jadwin Gym. One man Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar wore his support and respect for the Tibetan leader (see photograph) by way of a placard around his neck that read: “Long Live Dalai Lama, the Apostle of Compassion and The Soul of Tibet.”

The morning event was open to the University Community as well as members of the public with free tickets (two per applicant) made available in mid-September.

Later in the day, His Holiness met privately with a select group of students and faculty to discuss the meaning of service as expressed by the University’s informal motto, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” This event was by invitation only and was described as being an opportunity for “continued reflection.”

The event was covered extensively by some 30 media outlets and was simulcast to the Princeton community at the Princeton Public Library.

 

About 40 parents turned out Monday for a moderated Meet the Candidates panel discussion at John Witherspoon Middle School.

They had come to hear the four candidates, Justin Doran, Afsheen Shamsi, Fern Spruill, and Connie Witter, who are vying for three seats on the Board of Education, present their views and answer questions from the floor.

Only two of the four candidates showed, incumbent Ms. Shamsi and first time candidate Ms. Spruill. Mr. Doran had a business meeting and was unable to attend. He sent along his answers to a set of questions that had been distributed in advance of the meeting. Ms. Witter was a no show.

Ms. Shamsi is the only candidate already on the Board. She is seeking election for a second term. The two other vacancies stem from Dan Haughton and Tim Quinn, each of whom has served two full terms.

School Board Candidates’ Night has been sponsored by the the Princeton PTO Council and Special Education PTO for some 16 years.

Designed to offer the community a chance to listen to and ask questions of candidates before next week’s election, Tuesday, November 4, the event was moderated by former Board member Walter Bliss, who read Mr. Doran’s responses in his absence. After giving brief opening statements, each candidate read their responses to the pre-distributed questions and then took questions from the audience. Topics ranged from mainstreaming for special education students, Princeton’s achievement gap, the common core curriculum, to which Ms. Shamsi and Ms. Spruill read their previously written answers, and Mr. Bliss reading for Mr. Doran.

For Ms. Shamsi, one of the challenges facing the district is the pressure to get high grades and the effect that less than perfect grades have on students. . “We need to teach our children resiliency,” she said, citing a district study conducted by former Superintendent Judy Wilson showing that only 25 percent of students at PHS reported feeling happy with themselves.

Ms. Spruill spoke about inclusiveness and the need for electronic access for all students and their families.

The first question from parents concerned a perceived lack of communication between teachers and district administrators, found to be especially troubling given the current ongoing contract negotiations between the district and the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA). Ms. Shamsi agreed that a better job could be done by the district in this regard and commended new Superintendent Steve Cochrane for his “listening tours.”

One parent who had attended two recent meetings, asked why Board members seemed to ignore the people in the room. Ms. Shamsi, as the only member among the candidates, responded that the Board is “listening” and while she was unable to comment on current negotiations she reiterated budget constraints and a $1.6 million short fall.

This prompted a conversation on rising enrollment because of new construction in Princeton and the impact this might have on class sizes.

Malachi Wood, a teacher himself, asked Ms. Shamsi about her reported interest in raising funds for the district from public/private partnerships, which brought up the stellar work done by the Princeton Education Forum in raising hundreds of thousands for Princeton’s schools.

Parental frustration with the school Board over the recent contract negotiations was a constant undercurrent, which one parent expressed thus: “We have to settle this now and give teachers what they are asking for; as a board member it’s your job to get creative and find the money, whether through public/private partnership of whatever.”

The Candidates

An Institutional Equity Trader with the Royal Bank of Canada, Mr Doran has five children in the district. He describes himself as a sports enthusiast and was an active member on the Board of Princeton Little League for many years.

Ms. Shamsi, who has served on the Board of Education since May 2011, has a son at Princeton High School and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communications at Columbia University. She serves on several board committees including external affairs, personnel, facilities, and student achievement, and has helped develop the district’s communications plan and update its crisis communications plan.

Ms. Spruill, who has worked and volunteered in Princeton for many years, describes herself as a community volunteer. Her family has lived in the town for generations and she has served as chair and vice-chair of the district’s Minority Education Committee, from 2007-2011. “I have seen the schools evolve and I understand the district’s strengths and its weaknesses,” she said.

Ms. Witter, a mortgage underwriter working with first time homebuyers, has three children in the district.

For a Q&A with each of the candidates by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, visit: www.lwvprinceton.org/voters-guides/archives/princeton-school-board-candidates-2014.

 

A serenade by an a cappella group and individual tributes from members of Princeton Council marked the final meeting that Bob Bruschi, longtime municipal administrator, attended before his last day of work this Friday. Mr. Bruschi is retiring after 15 years serving first Princeton Borough and most recently the consolidated Princeton.

Mr. Bruschi and new administrator Marc D. Dashield sat next to each other at Monday’s meeting. With such a lengthy agenda, Mr. Bruschi clearly had his work cut out for him. But first, there was a surprise performance by the coed a cappella group “Around Eight” from Princeton High School, doing an energetic version of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” with lyrics specific to Mr. Bruschi and his career.

Following the song, Mayor Lempert and members of Council took turns expressing their wishes to the departing administrator. “I very much appreciate your dedication and professionalism as well as the heart you brought to the job,” said Patrick Simon. Jo Butler echoed Mr. Simon, adding, “particularly the incredible hours you dedicated during the transition to consolidation.” Lance Liverman commented to Mr. Bruschi, “A lot of the success of Princeton today has to do with you.” Jenny Crumiller said, “I’ve always admired your Council-wrangling skills. They’re supreme.”

Mr. Bruschi thanked them, adding, “It really has been a joy working with you. We all have our differences of opinion, but that’s what makes Princeton a great place.” He gave particular praise to the municipal staff.

Then it was down to business. Among the topics on the agenda was a new policy for events held in Princeton on Sundays, something that leaders of local clergy have voiced concerns about, particularly in relation to the annual Communiversity each April. The event was traditionally held on Saturdays but was switched to Sundays last year after a request from local merchants.

Mr. Bruschi said he has met with church leaders and the Arts Council of Princeton, which sponsors the event. Speaking for municipal staff, he said, “We preferred the Sunday date. It’s easier for staff to work and to get volunteers on Sundays, because there are so many other activities on Saturdays.” Since Communiversity is held late enough on Sundays to not affect church attendance and parking, clergy members are “on board” with holding the event on Sundays, he said.

Members of Council voiced concerns about the size of Communiversity and the crowds and traffic it produces. The event has been drawing about 40,000 each year. Arts Council director Jeff Nathanson said no one wants the event to grow bigger. Last year, clergy leaders and their members were frustrated with traffic and parking because of a breakdown in communications, he said, but this year an effort will be made to alert churchgoers a month ahead of the event.

Regarding other Sunday events such as the half-marathon sponsored by Hi-Tops, Mr. Bruschi recommended urging the organization to find a different route from the one that currently circuits through Princeton. “It’s very difficult for us to manage,” he said. “The problem is several crossings that come into the middle of town.” A route crossing over Route One into West Windsor, or to Lawrenceville, would be preferable.

A memo Mr. Bruschi sent to Council on October 10 detailed a Sunday events policy that would allow only community events sponsored or co-sponsored by the municipality to be held on Sundays, unless Council approves the event. No vote was taken on the proposed policy.

Also at the meeting, Council approved a resolution asking Mercer County to install safety improvements for the pedestrian crossing of the D&R Canal on Washington Road. A West Windsor man and his eight-year-old son were injured at the site earlier this month while walking their bikes across the road south of the Carnegie Lake Bridge. The improvements would include warning lights, a crosswalk, and signs.

The meeting included a public hearing for an ordinance that would create a board of parks and recreation commissioners to oversee the maintenance of the town’s open space, currently under the purview of the recreation board. The ordinance is part of the harmonizing of policies of the former Borough and Township into a new code for the consolidated municipality.

The new board would have seven members and two alternates, and would operate similarly to the commission that oversees the annual deer culling operation, Mr. Bruschi said. Council members Crumiller and Liverman spoke in favor of the ordinance. It will be voted on by Council at a future meeting.

 

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Pre-K students in Ms. Vanderburg’s class at Johnson Park Elementary were treated to a seasonally-inspired science lesson by substitute science teacher and Princeton resident Ilene Levine. In the lesson, “Autumn Nature: Float or Sink,” students were shown an assortment of objects from nature, such as an apple, a cranberry, a twig, and a leaf and asked to predict whether each object would sink or float. Then they tested their predictions. The youngsters, having guessed that the pumpkin would sink, were surprised to see it floating.

October 27, 2014

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) today announced a $2 million donation from Infosys, the business technology consulting firm. The funds will support a new endowment fund for visiting scientists and scholars at the world-renowned institute in Princeton. The Infosys Fund will support two scholars across the Institute’s four Schools each year. Infosys has a longstanding connection with the Institute through the Infosys Prize, which has recognized several of its former visiting scientists in the subject of Mathematical Sciences. The company has pledged $42 million in the current financial year towards corporate social responsibility through its philanthropic arm, the Infosys Foundation.

October 22, 2014

John Mulvey, the Princeton University professor accused of stealing 21 lawn signs advertising the Princeton Computer Repairs and Tutoring business owned by Ted Horodynsky, has been ordered to perform 120 hours of community service in exchange for the charges against him being dismissed. Mr. Horodynsky videotaped Mr. Mulvey driving off with the signs in July. Mr. Mulvey, who teaches operations research and financial engineering, must tutor Trenton area students in finance and computer science or prosecutors can reopen the case.

IN ELI’S MEMORY: Shown here with his two sisters, four-year-old Eli Waller died of Enterovirus D-68 on September 25. A fundraiser for the foundation Eli’s family has established in his memory is being held at The Peacock Inn, where Eli’s mother works, on Sunday, November 16.

IN ELI’S MEMORY: Shown here with his two sisters, four-year-old Eli Waller died of Enterovirus D-68 on September 25. A fundraiser for the foundation Eli’s family has established in his memory is being held at The Peacock Inn, where Eli’s mother works, on Sunday, November 16.

Ever since The Peacock Inn on Bayard Lane re-opened four years ago, Suzanne Waller has been a server at the boutique hotel and restaurant. Her colleagues were shocked and saddened when Ms. Waller’s four-year-old son Eli died in his sleep on September 25 of Enterovirus-D68. Now, they want to help.

An event to celebrate Eli’s memory and raise funds for the foundation the family has established in his memory will be held Sunday, November 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Inn. “We’re doing this because we know and love Suzie and her family,” said Scott Sussman, the hotel’s marketing director. “We’ve gotten to know Eli and his two sisters. It’s really been a hard, tough time.”

Mr. Sussman said customers who know Ms. Waller have been asking how they can assist the family. “This is really for anybody who wants to help them,” he said. “There will be food, wine, and a nice celebration of Eli, who was a triplet. Suzie will be here with her husband.”

The Waller family lives in Hamilton Township. Eli, a student at Yardville Elementary School, had one of nine cases confirmed in New Jersey and one of more than 500 cases across the nation. The virus has since been declared to be waning (see story on page 7). “He was a little guy. He just wasn’t able to fight it,” said Mr. Sussman. “They didn’t know he was sick. He just died in his sleep.”

Eli’s father Andy Waller announced earlier this month that the family is establishing The First Day of School Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing support for special education students. In a statement, Mr. Waller said, “Like so many kids his age, Eli was both nervous and excited about starting school, and it is our sincere hope that this foundation can work to help kids in a way that will make Eli proud of us all, in the same way that we were all so proud of him.”

A minimum donation of $100 is asked to attend the event in Eli’s memory. For further information, email Mr. Sussman at ssussman@thepeacockinn.com.

On October 18, at 3:03 p.m., a motor vehicle accident with injury occurred on Washington Road south of the Carnegie Lake Bridge. A vehicle driven by a 28-year-old male from Dayton was traveling south on Washington Road and passed a vehicle on the right that was stopped in the southbound lane. His vehicle struck a 54-year-old male from West Windsor and an 8-year-old male as they were standing on the shoulder of the roadway with their bicycles. Both pedestrians suffered serious injuries and were transported by the Princeton 1st Aid and Rescue Squad to Capital Health Systems at Fuld. Washington Road was closed between Faculty Road and Route 1 for three hours while the investigation was completed. The Mercer County Prosecutors Office Serious Collision Response Team responded to the accident scene and assisted with the investigation. No charges have been filed as the accident is still under investigation.

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AWARD WINNING AUTHORS AT TCNJ: Floyd Cooper’s cover image for his 2013 children’s book Max and the Tag-Along Moon, published by Philomel Books, is included in The College of New Jersey’s fall exhibition, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators.” Some 50 works by 20 renowned picture book artists will be on view through December 14. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery.(Image Courtesy of the Artist)

AWARD WINNING AUTHORS AT TCNJ: Floyd Cooper’s cover image for his 2013 children’s book Max and the Tag-Along Moon, published by Philomel Books, is included in The College of New Jersey’s fall exhibition, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators.” Some 50 works by 20 renowned picture book artists will be on view through December 14. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery. (Image Courtesy of the Artist)

The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) fall exhibition from October 22 through December 14, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators,” showcases more than 50 works of art by renowned picture book artists, including Mary Azarian, Eric Carle, Floyd Cooper, Gérard DuBois, Trina Schart Hyman, Steve Jenkins, Leo Lionni, Ted Lewin, E. B. Lewis, Emily Arnold McCully, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Peggy Rathmann, Jan Reynolds, Faith Ringgold, William Steig, Duncan Tonatiuh, Chris Van Allsburg, David Wisniewski, and Paul O. Zelinsky.

The exhibition and all related programs are free and open to the public.

All of the artists are internationally known and represent the highest caliber of children’s book illustrators reflected in the number of whom have been awarded Caldecott Medals and Honor Medals; Coretta Scott King Medals and Honor Medals, Pura Belpré Medals and Honor Medals, plus a myriad of other awards.

The exhibition presents the diversity of media and styles that these award-winning illustrators use in their picture book art. The guidelines for the Caldecott Medal, the top prize for an American illustrator, state that illustrations in a picture book must be appropriate, flow seamlessly, and work together with the text. An illustrator’s style and medium must complement the story, i.e., must complete the story and not fight it, overwhelm it, or denigrate it. The exhibition features illustrations that are realistic, surrealist, impressionist, expressionist, and naïve. Watercolors, oils, acrylics, collages, prints, drawings, and photographs are a few ways in which the illustrators in the exhibition bring stories to life.

Related programs include a lecture by Dr. Nick Clark, chief curator of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, who will speak about “Invention and Appropriation in 20th-century Picture Book Art,” Wednesday, October 22, at 4 p.m. in the Art and Interactive Multimedia (AIMM) Building, Room 125. His talk is immediately prior to the exhibition opening, from 5 to 7 p.m. Caldecott Award winner E. B. Lewis will talk about his career as an artist and illustrator on Friday, November 7, at 12:30 p.m.

TCNJ Art Gallery is located in the AIMM Building on the campus at 2000 Pennington Road in Ewing. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery.

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The office of Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has released a statement offering support and coordination in response to infectious disease outbreaks such as the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) that killed four-year-old Eli Waller.

In that instance, the Mercer County Division of Public Health (MCDPH) served as a resource to Hamilton health officials and its members are available to advise municipalities across the county.

The statement from Mr. Hughes assures residents that “county government is providing whatever resources it can to support the response to recent infectious disease outbreaks whose impacts have been felt locally.”

As one of 21 designated agencies for the New Jersey Local Information Network Communication System (LINCS), the MCDPH is “in regular communication with state and local health officials regarding Ebola, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), and any other public health threats that might occur. Information is shared on a daily basis.

“We’re concerned but we’re on top of it,” said Mr. Hughes. “Our public health officer and her staff are in daily contact with other jurisdictions to ensure that the flow of information is maintained, and that our municipalities receive the support they need in the form of human resources, materials, and supplies.”

As the statement points out, Mercer County does not have primary authority over public health matters. That authority lies with the State Department of Health under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The county’s main roles involve communication, support, and coordination,” Mr. Hughes clarified.

Representatives of local hospitals, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), municipal health offices, emergency management, emergency communications, and universities and colleges, as well as epidemiologists from the New Jersey Department of Health, met with the Mercer County health officer in late August to raise awareness and ensure countywide communication among first responders with respect to the Ebola virus.

As a result, EMS dispatch protocols were altered to screen for cases that fit the profile of someone infected with Ebola so first responders could take necessary precautions and the receiving emergency department could be notified. In addition, local police chiefs and emergency management coordinators were advised to meet directly with their health officers to discuss their response protocols.

In addition, said Mr. Hughes, there are plans to bring key stakeholders from throughout the county together again next week to share the most recent information and discuss future plans.

The release goes on to say that the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management is ready to support plans by local municipalities and other agencies through the coordination of additional resources, if necessary.

Princeton Public Schools

Health officials in Mercer County also have been focusing on EV-D68,confirmed in more than 40 states. As of Oct. 15, New Jersey had a total of 17 confirmed cases in nine counties, including Mercer.

According to the County Executive, Mercer County schools have cleaning protocols in place to provide safe environments.

Princeton’s Public Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser worked in coordination with Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane and the District’s Director of Plant Operations Gary Weisman. “We talked about cleaning protocols already in place to make sure that they were up-to-date with the viruses that we are now hearing about in the national news such as EV-D68, said Mr. Grosser.

Mr. Cochrane sent a letter to parents to inform them of what was being done. “I take my hat off to Superintendent Cochrane for being pro-active on this,” said Mr. Grosser, who pointed out that school districts in the Northeast, which open for the fall semester in September, were at an advantage with respect to controlling the spread of the virus compared to districts in the Midwest, where schools open in mid-August.

“With any new infectious disease we want to check that the cleaning materials being uses are appropriate for such infectious diseases. It’s routine for the Health Department to monitor sickness in the schools and check for clusters. There haven’t been any such clusters in the Princeton Public Schools, so this letter to parents, on which the department was consulted, was a proactive step to inform parents about what is being done in the schools and to advise them as to what they can do,” he said.

Yesterday, Hamilton Township officials announced EV-D68 negative test results for a second student at the Yardville Elementary School attended by Eli Waller.

The CDControl reports that cases in New Jersey are decreasing.

For more information about Ebola and EV-D68, visit the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ and the New Jersey Department of Health website: www.state.nj.us/health.

 

The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) will present its 35th Annual Conference and Interfaith Service for Peace, titled, “Seal the Deal on the Iran Nuclear Issue” on Sunday November 9 in Princeton.

The event features Amy Goodman and Naomi Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ms. Tutu has worked on race, gender, and peace issues around the world. Ms. Goodman is an award winning journalist, renowned author, and host and executive producer of Democracy Now!

“We are thrilled to have such an outstanding group of presenters for our 35th annual Conference and Interfaith Service for Peace,” said CFPA Executive Director, the Rev. Robert Moore. “Intense effort has been invested in resolving the Iran nuclear issue peacefully, and this may be our last chance to do so in a very long time. We encourage those who support diplomacy instead of war to come, become educated and empowered to advocate strongly as the November 24 deadline approaches for a negotiated settlement.”

Events begin with an individual sponsor reception and dinner with Ms. Tutu on Saturday, November 8, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Nassau Inn.

Ms. Tutu will preach during the Interfaith Service at Princeton University Chapel, on Sunday, November 9, at 11 a.m. Faith leaders from a wide range of traditions will co-lead the liturgy. The service is free and open to the public. A free will offering supports CFPA. Ms. Tutu will also lead the Conference for Peace at the Nassau Presbyterian Church, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., which includes Ms. Goodman and several young experts on nuclear diplomacy with Iran: Jamal Abdi, policy director of the National Iranian American Council, which is spearheading the Seal the Deal campaign, and Ariane Tabalabai, Stanton Nuclear Fellow, Harvard University who has published on the Iran negotiations. Doors will open for seating and at-the-door registration, if any seating remains, at 1 p.m.

To date, the event is co-sponsored by CFPA and 31 religious and civic groups in the region.

The deadline for discounted “Early Bird” reservation is October 24. Early Bird registration offers substantial savings to 2014 CFPA members. Costs are as follows: Individual Sponsor (includes November 8 reception and dinner with Ms. Tutu at the Nassau Inn, preferred seating and listing in program): $125 per CFPA member; $150 per non-member; Patron (includes preferred seating and listing in program): $50 per CFPA member; $75 per non-member; Regular Seating: $25 per CFPA member; $40 per non-member. Students are free, but must pre-register at CFPA’s web site, www.peacecoalition.org.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register to ensure admission, and to avoid standing in line to register at the door.

Early Bird conference registration fees can be paid by credit card through CFPA’s secure web site, www.peacecoalition.org; or by telephone (609) 924-5022.

Robert Gregory, director of Princeton’s Office of Emergency Management, will give an hour-long overview of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program being developed in Princeton on Thursday, October 30, at 3 p.m. and again on Thursday, November 6, at 7 p.m. The program is being developed in cooperation with Mercer County.

The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

Upcoming training sessions for those interested in taking part in the CERT program are to be announced. The information sessions will be held in the library’s Community Room. The library is at 65 Witherspoon Street. Visit www.princetonlibrary.org or call (609) 924-9529 for information.

The Princeton Senior Resource Center will hold its tenth annual fall conference on Saturday, November 1, theme “Technology and Aging Independently.” The event will be held at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, starting at 8:30 a.m.

The day includes a keynote speaker, a resource fair featuring representatives from area organizations, vendors with information about new products and services, and a series of topical workshops led by industry professionals.

In lockstep with Princeton’s recent designation by the World Health Organization as an “Age-Friendly Community,” this conference is designed to address both user-friendly and cutting-edge technology. PSRC Executive Director Susan Hoskins says, “We want to make people aware of emerging technologies that can help them stay active in our community. It’s exciting to learn about these modalities that can help us stay socially connected, engaged in lifelong learning, have unlimited information at our fingertips, stay healthier and have tools to help us manage our own lives as we age.”

The keynote speaker is Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder and CEO of Generations on Line, a national nonprofit company dedicated to simplifying the internet through special software available to more than 1800 facilities nationwide, including public libraries, senior centers, retirement communities, and low-income elder housing. She will address the many ways that technology is currently being used to help people maintain independence.

Workshop presenters and their guests will introduce numerous opportunities that are currently available or coming soon. The leaders include Barbara Lundy and Don Benjamin, PSRC’s Computer Lab facilitators, who will present “Getting Started,” an introduction to internet resources and online safety; Tom Callahan, of Answers for Issues Consulting, who will shed light on Social Media, Online Education and Entertainment; Barbara Vaning from Princeton HealthCare System Community Outreach, who will offer a workshop on electronic medical records, online consultations, hospital, and home technologies; Holly Hardaway from Independent Domain, who will describe the multiple ways technology can be implemented to support home safety; and Annette Murphy of Senior Care Management and Janet Hauge from the Princeton Public Library, who will show how to pay bills, shop, communicate, and learn through social media.

As our culture becomes ever more technology-oriented and dependent, PSRC is committed to helping our community stay connected. This conference is an opportunity for anyone interested in the latest, most practical technologies to learn which gadgets, devices, and apps are useful, and which to ignore or reject.

The conference is free; pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Call (609) 924-7108.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.